1955, the Friends Material Aids Committee asked for help in making
layettes to distribute to needy children at home and abroad. And so our
sewing group was born. Since our Friends School held classes in our
schoolhouse, the ladies originally met in each other's houses. Five
ladies from Meeting gathered willing helpers and got things rolling.
Younger women came with their children, who played together all
morning, fortified from time to time by the hostess's generous offering
of cookies and milk. During the next few years, the extreme need that
had set needles flying lessened somewhat and our older ladies began to
take life a little easier. The younger ones took up other forms of
volunteer work once their children were in school. P.T.A., Visiting
Nurse Association, Hospital Auxiliary and such claimed their spare time.
The sewing group lapsed for many years until it dawned on some
Meeting members and attenders that the bench cushions in the Meeting
House had become very shabby and, what's more, the horsehair stuffing
had begun to escape and prickle.
As usual, the ladies agreed not to spend a cent more than necessary
on the much needed renovation. The sewing group re-formed and set to
work. By now the milk and cookie brigade had children of their own. They
met in the schoolhouse which had become available once the school had
closed. By the time they recovered the cushions, the Friends Fall
Festival came into being, so they turned to making many lovely things
for sale at the Stitchery Booth.
From layettes via upholstery to fairings hasn’t been the only
change. Some of the young women now held down jobs, at least part-time,
and joined the group when they could. Those whose children were still in
pre-school and some sturdy grandmothers attended the sewing mornings
The ladies’ chat changed, also. The older generation seldom spoke
of their personal concerns. They talked of general topics encompassing
gardens, houses, recipes and the morning news. Today, they rely on each
other for advice, comfort, and humor. The age spread assures that
there's always someone who can listen with intelligence to whatever
experiences others air. Their merriment at a young mother's tale of her
toddler son's inspired mixing of baby powder and Vaseline and painting a
variety of objects with this slurpy concoction helped her to see the
incident in some perspective. The ladies then proceeded to regale each
other with glorious horror stories of children’s mischief from
dropping marbles down the bathtub drain to see how many would vanish to
deliberately encouraging mice with cracker crumbs placed in out of the
They shared their troubles—parents who are aging and need more care
and more of their already crowded time, children who aren't doing well
in school, their bereavements, and their fears about the world the
coming generation was facing.
The members of our sewing group share their joys, too—graduations,
successful attainments of cherished goals, weddings, recoveries,
birthdays, and their great hopes and faith in the future of the Meeting
and their children.
Every Thursday morning at 10:30 A.M., this intrepid group gathers in
the Schoolhouse. They welcome anyone interested. Skill with a needle isn’t
a pre-requisite. Sometimes they do odd jobs for the Meeting like mending
curtains or addressing envelopes. They’ve even been known to just
chat. The group waxes and wanes, but there’s always someone to listen,
always someone to share life's ups and downs, always someone to share a
laugh, always a welcome.